July 2014

21st July

Enjoyed a superb summer Sunday evening with Hubcap yesterday at, would you believe, our local business park! We started off sitting under an umbrella outside The Swan and Cygnet (left), one of the pubs on the edge of the Calder Park business estate (just off the A636 Denby Dale Road coming into Wakefield from the M1) for a slap-up tea. Mick opted for the ale-battered fish with chips and mushy peas, while I tried one of the vegetarian options: spinach, red onion and garlic mushroom tart with new potatoes, carrots and peas. Although the portion didn't look huge, the rich, cheesy tart was so filling that I couldn't finish all my vegetables - so I thought it was pretty good value for £7.95. In fact we were both so stuffed there was no prospect of managing a regular dessert, let alone one of the £4.95 special Giant Puddings (like the Club Tower of layered chocolate brownie with fudge sauce, raspberry sponge and vanilla custard, and sticky toffee pudding!). We didn't even bother to avail ourselves of the carry-out dessert service, as we were about to embark on a long walk and didn't want to tote it with us; but if you're passing this way, I can recommend The Swan - a nice varied menu including Light Bites and plenty of vegetarian choices, tasty food, reasonable prices and prompt attentive service - we'll certainly be eating there again.

Then to work it off, we made a repeat visit to Calder Park and its nature reserve. Last time we went (in winter two years ago), the business park was still very new, and the landscape plantings hadn't had chance to grow up; but in the height of summer splendour, it looked magnificent. The whole site is extremely impressive, with some handsome modern architecture and the lovely futuristic streetlights (see below centre) - and the general environment a very long way from your average business estate, as the pictures show!


The small lake (complete with coots!) within the business park, surrounded by reed-mace, bulrushes and yellow Rose of Sharon.


The rear of the West Yorkshire Police building, overlooking the large lake where flocks of Canada geese swim placidly



Not for the cat on the right - that's our beloved Henry Wowler having fun in the sun. And he's the reason I can't home any more pussies, much as I'd like to - he's so used to being the One Cat that we don't know how he'd take it (although I suspect he wouldn't be very happy about it. Nor, to be honest, would Hubcap - the Wow is plenty enough cat for him!). But Leeds Cat Rescue is chock-full with 64 kittens and many lovely adult cats, all urgently in need of new homes. LCR is a completely voluntary organisation which receives no funding except for donations, and is entirely run by a team of dedicated volunteers who rescue, rehabilitate and rehome cats of all ages - and it desperately needs your help. So if you, or any of your friends, live in the Leeds area and can find room in your life for a beautiful, entertaining pet, please contact them - all cats and kittens they supply are neutered, vaccinated, micro-chipped and treated for fleas and worms. Or if you can't home a cat, you could send a cash donation by PayPal or food,toys and essentials via their 'Wish List' on Amazon - see their website and Facebook page for details and donation button.

Meanwhile it's being a busy month for Herstory. On 1st July, I had an interesting time at the Cathedral Centre on Westmorland Street in central Wakefield, delivering a version of my 'Battle of Wakefield' talk for a group of people with visual impairments. In preparation I re-jigged my Powerpoint slides, reducing the amount of text/increasing the font size and size of images to make them easier to see; rethought the whole presentation to make sure I was describing things clearly; and took along some items (a livery coat and tabard, arrow, sword and rondel dagger) to hand round, so that people with very limited sight could at least feel the weight and texture of some replica medieval items. It was the first time I'd done a presentation like this, so I was delighted and relieved when it went very well - the weapons in particular were the focus of a great deal of excitement and interest! It all served as another illustration of the power of objects to engage an audience, whether they're sighted or not - and I hope I'll do more such events in the future.

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